many of whom are threatened with starvation, are undoubtedly grateful for the
food aid that is being given to them by several foreign
Unfortunately, the reality is that the aid is
perpetuating and prolonging the wider suffering of Zimbabweans by giving them
a false sense of food security when they should be seriously confronting the
causes of their starvation in a rich farming land.
As long as
the food handouts continue to come in, many in Zimbabwe and especially the
government will not bother to examine why the country has sunk to this
pathetic level, let alone to take corrective action.
government's defiant seizure of productive commercial farms and the
occupation of most of the farms by its supporters have been the
main catalysts of the famine, pushing down output of the staple maize by as
much as 60 percent last season.
No doubt, the drought which hit
southern Africa only worsened the situation.
But let no one shy
away from the undeniable fact that it is the government's own actions, more
than anything else, which have triggered the current suffering of its own
It follows therefore that the government and it alone
must take action to correct its irresponsible policies which have caused the
famine if the man-made tragedy is to be avoided in future.
to its own devices and with the foreign food aid coming in, the government is
predictably behaving as if it is business as usual and is even refusing to
acknowledge its role in the country's worst
For Zimbabweans, the food aid gives them
false comfort that all is well, shielding them from the harsh reality that
they must take their destiny into their hands in the face of an
administration that seems determined to do everything and anything that can
make their lives as unbearable as is possible.
are rightly arguing that, unfortunate as this might be, a cessation of
foreign food aid would not only allow Zimbabweans to appreciate their
deep-seated suffering but also ensure that the government takes
responsibility for its actions.
In other words, the government must
sort out its mess without any foreign food aid and Zimbabweans must hold the
administration fully accountable for their misery.
But the issue
of food aid, aside from promoting an unsustainable culture of dependency,
goes far deeper than this in crisis-weary Zimbabwe.
reports continue to filter out from the countryside that some elements of the
ruling ZANU PF party, on top of disrupting farming in many parts of Zimbabwe
and causing the current hunger, are now using food aid as a political
These elements are denying food aid to those they suspect
to be opposition members, clearly one of the worst human rights abuses and
a serious challenge to the conscience of those foreign governments
whose taxpayers' money has been used to buy the food.
the government denies using food aid as a political tool, one ZANU PF
official was quoted in the media two weeks ago as telling villagers in
Matabeleland that those who continued to vote for the opposition should not
run to the government in search of food relief because they were supporting
the country's enemies.
Surely the government, however much it may
hate the fact that the MDC is a reality, must take care of the interests of
all Zimbabweans and not just those of its supporters.
aid - this includes that bought by the government using hard-earned
taxpayers' funds - must be given to all who need it without
any discrimination whatsoever.
Otherwise Zimbabweans will feel
justified in refusing to pay taxes from which the food aid money is siphoned
if the food is only meant for ZANU PF members. There can be no two ways about
THE government this
week backtracked on its decision to reject genetically modified organism
(GMO) food in the face of mass hunger, agreeing to take in 20 000 tonnes of
maize donated by the US after being told the food would be diverted
elsewhere, aid agency sources said.
The sources said the government
had initially wanted the 18 000 tonnes of maize and 2 000 tonnes of other
nutritious foods certified GMO-free but Washington had rejected the request
and said the food would be shipped to other countries willing to accept
Michael Foster, the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) programme officer in Harare, yesterday said Social
Welfare Minister July Moyo had this week undertook in writing to accept the
food without any certification that it was free of GMO.
a meeting on Tuesday with officials from the Labour and Social Welfare
Ministry and we got a letter from the permanent secretary of that ministry
signed by Moyo saying the government will take the food," Foster told the
He would not confirm whether Harare had accepted
the food at the last minute and only after US threats that the food would be
given to other countries.
But he pointed out: "It is clear that
any food that the Zimbabwe government does not take will be given to others
Foster said it was still unclear whether Harare's
acceptance of the USAID food donations signalled a permanent shift of policy
on GMO foods.
Moyo could not be reached for comment.
The government this week also appeared to be shifting on yet another earlier
decision on food by allowing selected private companies to trade
The official Herald newspaper yesterday reported that
the Agriculture Ministry had relaxed the monopoly of the state-owned Grain
Marketing Board and allowed selected private companies to buy maize and wheat
directly from farmers.
Previously only the GMB was permitted to
buy or sell the two commodities.
Harare has on numerous
occasions in the past said it will not accept food aid if it is GMO-produced,
saying this could in future hamper the production of natural
The US, one of the world's biggest producers of grains, does
not differentiate between GMO and non-GMO grain and the 20 000 tonnes of
food given to Zimbabwe almost certainly includes GMO grain as
Zimbabwe earlier this year rejected 10 000 of USAID maize
because it had not been certified GMO-free.
Once the bread
basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is the epicentre of a worsening food
crisis affecting much of the region and requires more than 500 000 tonnes of
food aid to feed half of its 12 million people this year.
government blames the poor rains for the food shortages but food experts say
the government's chaotic and often violent land reforms are largely to blame
for the 60 percent drop in food production this year.
assistant administrator in Washington Roger Winter last week warned that
Zimbabwe, also battling its worst economic crisis, could have a famine on its
hands by next month if it continues to dither on whether to accept GMO
Registrar-General's Office plans to increase passport fees from $600 to $5
000 starting this month because of what officials say are soaring production
The officials said this week passports were heavily
subsidised by the state and the passport office wanted applicants to meet the
full costs of producing them.
"The fees for a single passport
will definitely go up any time this month to $5 000 from the current $600
fee," one official told the Financial Gazette.
"We want to
recover the full cost of producing a passport from the applicant, as is being
done by other countries. You can subsidise birth certificates and identity
cards but travelling is voluntary and so it should follow that applicants
should meet the full cost," the official said.
defended the planned increase in the cost of passports, saying the cost of
stationery for producing the travel documents had risen sharply and, at any
rate, the passports were valid for 10 years.
Registrar-General's Office last November suspended the issuing of emergency
passports because of what it said was a dramatic increase in the number of
The planned hike in the fees comes amid persistent
reports of a scam allegedly involving passport officers who process travel
documents for desperate individuals intending to travel abroad on emergency
medical, educational and business trips.
Sources charge that
desperate individuals fork out as much as $40 000 for a passport to be
processed within two days.
Although details were still sketchy this
week, there were allegations that hundreds of individuals could have parted
with large amounts of money in order to be quickly issued with a passport,
which normally takes six months to be processed.
official at the Registrar-General's Office said: "There have been such
reports and we are closely monitoring the situation. But it will not be easy
to identify such activities if members of the public are
"In such situations, you always get
desperate applicants and there are some people willing to provide a service
at a higher cost, illegally as it might be, although we do not encourage
Before last year's suspension of the issuing of emergency
passports, the passport office was inundated by applications from scores of
Zimbabweans who were fleeing political violence while others were leaving in
search of better working conditions.
When the Financial Gazette
visited the passport offices in Harare this week, there was uncertainty on
the planned fee hike, with some officials saying they were still to be
informed of it.
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede could not be
reached for comment. Officials said he was recuperating from a bout of flu at
August 02, 2002
threatens to seize passports of opponents From Jan Raath in
PRESIDENT MUGABE is threatening to withdraw
the passports of Zimbabwe's political opposition leaders and introduce visa
restrictions in retaliation for economic and travel sanctions imposed on his
regime by the West. In an interview with the independent
Financial Gazette, John Nkomo, the Home Affairs Minister, said that "people
within Zimbabwe who have campaigned for sanctions" could lose their
passports, while foreigners would be subjected to visa restrictions.
Passports were "a privilege which could be taken away at any
The Government needed first to "deal with internal
saboteurs" before considering action against Western governments which
imposed sanctions, the minister said. The restrictions on the movements of Mr
Mugabe 's opponents were among "a range of measures" being
The Government has already adopted citizenship
laws enabling it to deny Zimbabwean passports to anyone suspected of having a
potential claim to another nationality. Aimed at disenfranchising 40,000
white people of British descent, the measures may also affect more than a
million black people with links to other African nations. The laws have been
successfully challenged in the High Court, but the Government plans to appeal
in the Supreme Court.
Mr Nkomo named only the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), but observers said that the country's large and
vociferous pro-democracy movement of trade union, church and civil rights
organisations were vulnerable.
The Government blames its
opponents at home for sanctions imposed after international observers said
that elections returning Mr Mugabe to power had been
The United States and the European Union banned
senior Zimbabwe officials from visiting their countries and made their assets
liable to confiscation. Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland followed
However, the regime appears to have been most stung by
the EU's addition last month of 52 names, including Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace,
38, to its original list of 20.
Since then, a
wheelchair-bound junior Zanu (PF) party member has been sent home after he
arrived at Gatwick airport en route to a conference for the disabled in New
York, and this week Sweden said it had refused visas for four senior women
Zanu (PF) MPs.
Mr Mugabe's penchant for international travel
has been seriously cramped and his wife's shopping trips strictly curtailed,
but this week he flew to Malaysia, where he was welcomed by Mahathir Mohamad,
the Prime Minister, only six days after returning from a trip to
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general, said that
the Government's planned restrictions were "illegal and
"Every Zimbabwean has a constitutional
right to freedom of movement, which means freedom to enter and exit Zimbabwe.
The courts have repeatedly held a passport to be a right and not a
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National
Constitutional Association, which is campaigning for a new democratic
constitution, said that the Government could carry out its restrictions on
people's movements only if it defied the constitution. The MDC's 56 MPs in
the 120-seat Parliament constituted a blocking vote to the two-thirds
majority needed to amend the constitution. Last week Mr Mugabe said that the
Government would obey court rulings only if the Government considered them
In December last year one of Mr Mugabe's
brothers-in-law, who is the head of the state-owned power utility, sent
technicians to cut off the domestic power supply to Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC leader, after he had urged South Africa to stop supplying power to
BULAWAYO - Several bakeries and retailers across
Matabeleland were without bread yesterday and most of them blamed the
shortages of the staple on what they said were erratic supplies of flour by
At several bread outlets in Bulawayo visited by the
Financial Gazette, long queues of people waiting for bread could be
In Bulawayo's Pumula high-density suburb, some residents told
this newspaper bread had been in short supply for the past week. War veterans
in the suburb had by yesterday taken over the control of people queuing
"Last week we managed to get some bread from our
local baker but today he told us that he has no flour so we have to do
without bread," said Julia Ngozo at Pumula Old shopping centre.
In Victoria Falls, Lupane, Gwanda and Beitbridge, several retailers contacted
by phone said they had little or no stocks of bread.
Bakers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Armitage Chikwavira professed
ignorance on the bread shortage in the country's southern region, saying he
needed to investigate before making comments on the matter.
official at a leading bakery, Bakers Inn, who spoke on condition he was not
named, said: "There are erratic supplies of flour countrywide. Consumers are
also now substituting meal-mealie with bread, hence this shortage. Demand for
bread is far outstripping supply." - Staff Reporter
Millers seek 25% flour price hike
Reporter 8/1/02 9:16:54 AM (GMT +2)
have applied to the government to be allowed to increase the price of flour
by up to 25 percent to restore viability because of rising production costs
and the negative effects of price controls to the industry, it was learnt
If the government agrees to the demand, the increase
will also put pressure on bakers to increase the price of bread, one of the
staple foods which together with mealie-meal is increasingly in short
Officials in the milling industry said millers, who now
receive 6 000 tonnes of wheat a week from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
instead of the previous allocation of 7 800 tonnes, were importing gristling
wheat using the more expensive parallel market foreign exchange rates while
output costs had also soared.
Gristling wheat is blended with
local wheat to give a higher protein content.
The request by
millers follows a similar demand by bakers last month to have the government
increase the price of bread by up to 30 percent but the government is yet to
consider that application.
Industry and International Trade
Ministry's permanent secretary Stuart Comberbach yesterday confirmed that the
millers had applied to his ministry seeking an increase in the price of flour
but could not give any details.
He also said the application by
bakers was still being considered.
"Yes, we have the application
from the millers that the price of flour should be increased," Comberbach
told the Financial Gazette. "There is also an application that the price of
bread should be increased.
"What I can say is that the applications
are being processed in the normal way."
Comberbach however said
if there was to be any upward review of the price of flour, the millers would
have to considerate that although the government had increased the producer
price of wheat, this was only for the crop that will be harvested this
The government last week increased the producer price of
wheat from $25 000 to $40 000 a tonne but is selling wheat at the old
"One has to look at the increases in the context that there
is no increase in the price of wheat which the GMB is selling to millers
now," Comberbach said.
Bulawayo baker Eddie Cross said the
government should act on the application by the bakeries because the prices
of fats, oils, sugar, yeast - all used in producing bread - had gone up,
including distribution costs as well.
If the bakers' request is
granted, it will raise the price of a standard loaf of bread to about $78
from the present $60, which has been in effect since April.
producer price is below the cost of production and an application has been
made to Trade Minister Hebert Murerwa who is supposed to take it to Cabinet,"
Bakers last month met Comberbach and his agriculture
counterpart Ngoni Masoka over their pleas to have an additional 50 000 tonnes
of wheat imported urgently to avert serious bread shortages.
state-run GMB is rationing wheat amid fears that Zimbabwe could run out of
the product by next month because supplies are dwindling fast.
Zimbabwe consumes 400 000 tonnes of wheat annually. Only about 150 000 tonnes
of the commodity are expected to be produced this winter season, down from
about 360 000 tonnes in 2001.
01 Aug 2002 Zimbabwe's food crisis: what went
wrong By Mercedes
Zimbabwean children on their way home from school collect maize that has
fallen from trucks. Photo by HOWARD BURDITT PRETORIA (AlertNet) - On
average, large-scale drought hits southern Africa once a decade. In 1992, the
worst drought in living memory as it was called, parched the land from the
Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
The region had to import 5.9 million tons
of food to feed between 18 and 20 million people in 11
After a 75 percent crop loss, Zimbabwe, usually a grain
exporter, had to import 2.5 tonnes of maize. It coped. The government reacted
early. It had surplus maize from previous years, foreign exchange to import
food, an efficient relief program in place and goodwill from donors. A
well-planned relief operation averted a famine.
This year, after
unseasonally heavy rain, a long dry spell again shrivelled the maize crop in
Zimbabwe. Half of the population of 13 million needs food aid. Cereal import
requirements are 1.8 million tonnes.
Food supply and food access are
worse now than in 1992, according to a report by the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Yet, unlike 1992, reservoirs are full of
water and there is plenty of grazing for cattle. Why are things worse? Ten
years ago, a drought induced by the El Nino weather phenomenon caused the
"It was strictly a natural disaster," says Judith Lewis, regional
director for the World Food Programme (WFP).
Today, a combination of
bad governance, economic crisis, widespread poverty and the spread of
HIV/AIDS add man-made elements to a natural disaster.
leading to action can stop a shortage from turning into a famine. In spite of
many forecasts of looming crisis, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made denied it
until the presidential elections were over in March.
"This food shortage
is the accumulation of three years of economic mismanagement," Zimbabwean
economist John Robertson told AlertNet by telephone from
FASTEST SHRINKING ECONOMY
According to the Work Bank and
the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), Zimbabwe is the world's fastest
shrinking economy, declining at a rate of minus 10 percent last
Poverty rates have doubled since 1992. By the UNDP yardstick, seven
out of 10 Zimbabweans are defined as poor -- i.e. earning one dollar per day
-- and four of these live in abject poverty, earning less than a dollar per
One-third of jobs have been lost since 2000, says Finance Minister
Simba Makoni. People's coping mechanisms are stretched to the limit. These
include going to live with relatives, taking children out of school and
sending them to work -- for example panning for gold or begging -- eating one
meal a day instead of two, having more than one job, looking for food in the
bush because you there is none to buy.
In the past decade, HIV/AIDS
rates have soared to nearly 34 percent, or one in three adults, according to
the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
As productive adults fall
ill and die, orphan- and grandmother-headed households multiply. The U.N.
Children's Fund UNICEF estimates that one million children have lost one or
both parents to AIDS.
Oxfam says local health services are almost
The second casualty is commercial agriculture. Since
President Robert Mugabe began a controversial and violent land redistribution
programme two years ago, the amount of land planted and crops harvested by
commercial farmers has decreased every year.
According to a WFP food
supply assessment mission in May, cereal production has fallen by two-thirds
U.N. agencies and Oxfam say production of crops that earn
foreign exchange, such as soybeans, cotton and tobacco, also
This year's wheat crop is threatened by the eviction of the
bulk of white commercial farmers under Mugabe's land redistribution
programme, who must leave by 10 August to make way for landless blacks,
before the harvest. One million farm workers and their families have lost
their jobs and homes.
NO CARRYOVER STOCKS
The collapse of
agriculture means that, unlike 10 years ago, the country has no carryover
maize stocks to cushion the drought's impact. The government's ability to
import food is extremely low. FAO estimates foreign exchange reserves to be
just U.S.$65 million, enough to cover only half a month's imports.
three-year-long foreign exchange crisis has been made worse by an overvalued
currency and a drain of U.S.$1 million a day to pay for Zimbabwe's military
intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where thousands of its
troops are supporting the government of President Joseph Kabila against
rebels backed by Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
The main foreign exchange
earners -- tourism, agricultural and gold exports -- are severely
What little foreign exchange is earned must pay for fuel and
electricity imports, foreign debt servicing, and now maize.
its low foreign exchange reserves, the government is unable to import all
that is needed.
The shortfall must be met, says the FAO, by a combination
of food aid and commercial sector imports -- up to one-third by the
The government will not lift the monopoly of the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) on cereal imports and movements. Nor will it lift price controls
so that imported maize can be sold at realistic prices.
NGOs have pleaded for private commercial imports. These were key in the
relief effort 10 years ago. In three meetings with Mugabe in Durban in July,
James Morris, executive director of the WFP, failed to
The private sector remains blocked, although two foreign
NGOs were to import small quantities in July for free
People can obtain maize in three ways. Two of these --
food-for-work schemes and buying at low prices from GMB depots -- are run by
the ruling party and open to abuse. "One can clearly see in government's food
distribution an unfair, unlawful, systematic process of punishing people and
regions, like Matabeleland, for supporting the opposition," says lawyer
Tawanda Hondora, who chairs the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
report, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a U.S.-based human
rights watchdog, refers to "the political manipulation of hunger in some
areas to exclude those labelled as supporters" of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). Some children were denied free school meals
because their parents supported the MDC.
The third way to obtain food
is donor-led feeding schemes and food distribution. This is where, according
to PHR, donors can make a difference through a firm policy of "food for
everybody or food for nobody."
In late March and again in May, donors
solved several cases where needy people were denied food because of their
As the WFP prepares for massive food distribution,
Morris conveyed to Mugabe that the agency would not tolerate political
interference and Mugabe gave him his word that food aid would not be
The potential for abuse lies in registration. War veterans,
youth militia, councillors, headmasters, businessmen and chiefs can
manipulate lists to benefit supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party and
The only good news is that the transport and storage
network can cope. Trucks are old and turnaround slow, but they work. There
has been maintenance, although no investment in expanding the road and rail
Thanks to a deal with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, critical
fuel shortages of the past two years have ended.
Harare Firm Clinches Angola Poultry Deal
August 1, 2002 Posted to the web August 1, 2002
A ZIMBABWEAN company has clinched a deal to export poultry
products to Angola worth US$100 million a year which officials say could open
doors for other Zimbabwean firms to penetrate Angola's vast market.
spokesman for Hummingbird Enterprises said the Harare-based firm last
week signed a contract with a group of Angolan businesses to export
frozen chicken, eggs and poultry feeds to Angola.
marketing executive Jeremiah Jenami said the deal would see the Zimbabwean
firm exporting more than 22 tonnes of poultry a week and earning the country
up to US$100 million a year.
"Our strategy is to set up a plant in Angola
within the next three months from which we will be able to supply that market
and beyond," Jenami said this week.
Angola is still smarting from more
than 25 years of civil strife which destroyed much of the country's
infrastructure and manufacturing base.
"The Angolans buy more than 90
percent of their food requirements and it is our plan to explore the many
opportunities offered by that market," Jenani told the Financial
Hummingbird is a Zimbabwean-based international firm which
exports poultry products to Africa on behalf of Irvine's Day Old Chicks
Zimbabwe and National Chicks of South Africa.
Jenami however bemoaned
the absence of adequate and reliable transport facilities between Zimbabwe
He said the firm would stop exporting eggs and poultry
products once the proposed factory is opened in Angola. Hummingbird would
however continue to supply animal feeds from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and Angola has been low over the years, with exports from Harare
declining from US$3.4 million in 2000 to US$500 000 last year.
INFORMATION Minister Jonathan Moyo's dream of creating
an all-conquering propaganda machine for the governing ZANU PF party from
the ashes of the government's news agency this week lay in tatters after
he failed to secure about $1 billion needed to finance the so-called New
Sources said Moyo had hoped the government would release the
$1 billion from the $52 billion in extra expenditure sought by Finance
Minister Simba Makoni last week when he presented his supplementary Budget
proposals to Parliament.
In his speech, Makoni never mentioned
the need to inject capital into Moyo's pet project which involves the launch
of a new television station, a 24-hour radio station, eight provincial
weeklies and a new agricultural newspaper to be called The New
Instead Makoni, who secured the $52 billion which he said
would partly be funded from reserves out of this year's Budget, allocated
money to his own ministry, newly resettled farmers, the drought relief scheme
and to tobacco growers.
Financial problems have dogged Moyo's
New ZIANA which he launched last year and is meant to be constructed from the
ashes of the old Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (ZIANA), a moribund
government news agency that was crippled by bad management and lack of
Vimbai Chivaura, a ZANU PF academic appointed to head
the New ZIANA in June, this week left the organisation in a huff after
clashing with the board over his remuneration.
He was the second
senior official of the company to resign within weeks of being appointed
after its first head of the publishing unit, Bright Matonga, left to join the
Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, the government-owned bus
"Chivaura was generally disillusioned by the way the board
was handling a lot of issues," a senior member of the organisation told
the Financial Gazette.
Besides the salary wrangle, the official
said, Chivaura was annoyed that the board was taking too long to address
issues, including the low morale at ZIANA and at The Times, the group's
flagship weekly based in the Midlands, because of poor salaries.
Workers at the Gweru-based Times are on strike over salary demands while
those at ZIANA claim that they have not received the 55 percent
salary increment promised by the board in January.
CIMAS, one of
Zimbabwe's largest medical aid societies, has also struck off the news
agency's workers from its register because management has failed to remit
their contributions to the society despite deducting the money every
The sources said Chivaura's new executive, meant to breathe
life into the new firm which has on board former broadcasters Shepherd
Mutamba and Happisson Muchechetere, has not been paid any salaries but a
salary advance since joining the company in June.
comment, New ZIANA board chairman Munacho Mutezo yesterday said: "I don't
know . . . there is so much going on in the Press."
admitted that his board was still trying to find money to award workers at
the news agency the 55 percent salary increment promised
"Everyone knows ZIANA was in financial problems, we
are looking at solutions," he said.
An industry source said the
New ZIANA board had also failed to secure private funds from Zimbabwean banks
because most financial institutions considered the venture a high-risk
"There is no bank that would invest in propaganda
because propaganda has no returns in terms of profit," one source
Mutezo said the New ZIANA board was engaged in a
restructuring exercise and that the sourcing of funds was one of its
"We are looking at several options to fund our operations
as part of restructuring. That exercise is not complete," he
BULAWAYO - The state-run National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) is mired in controversy here after inviting war veterans to
participate in an internal investigation on the alleged rampant theft of
relief maize from its wagons, it was learnt this week.
in our possession show that three war veterans are now part of an internal
NRZ team that includes David Sithole, its chief internal auditor, tasked with
investigating the rail wagon thefts alleged to have prejudiced the railway
line by about $15 million.
NRZ sources say some of their fellow
workers have fiercely resisted the inclusion of the pro-ZANU PF militants in
the internal investigating team.
"There is a general feeling
here that the war veterans want everyone at the railways to belong to ZANU
PF," a disgruntled worker said.
NRZ chairman Chivarange Chimombe
this week confirmed that the railway company had invited war veterans to join
its investigating team probing the disappearance of relief wheat, maize and
other grains from the wagons.
"Under normal circumstances,
enquiries of this nature are in-house," Chimombe said in a
"However because of the sensitivity of the matter and
the need to ensure transparency, the board decided to include representatives
of war veterans," he added.
Workers however allege that the
three-man war veteran team had also extended its brief on its own and begun
to poke into issues such as the alleged discrimination against former freedom
fighters on securing top jobs within the rail company.
have been reports that war veterans in the probe team deliberately
antagonised some staff by accusing them of working in cahoots with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change to create food shortages in the
country by stealing relief food on transit.
Abel Mutsakani News Editor 8/1/02 9:27:38 AM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his government have responded to tightening
international pressure with a fresh onslaught against political opponents,
pressing new treason charges against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
banning meetings of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
analysts say attempts by the government to try to defy the international
community are foolhardy for an administration that is dependent on foreign
food handouts to avert the country's worst famine largely blamed on its own
"It is being very shortsighted for the government to
think that it can defy the world and get away with it," former University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) political science professor Solomon Nkiwane told the Financial
"Zimbabwe's economy is just too dependent on the regional
and international economies," he noted.
another UZ political scientist, said the government' s strategy was meant to
give an impression that travel and financial sanctions imposed on its members
by the European Union (EU), Canada, New Zealand and the US would not have any
meaningful effect on the ruling ZANU PF party and its top
But Sithole said "this get-tough-with-the-world approach
is ill advised".
Harare, he said, would eventually succumb to
international pressure and uphold the rule of law, human rights and democracy
as demanded by the international community.
"Anyone who cannot
see that eventually happening needs his head examined," the respected Sithole
A week after the EU added 52 more names to the list of 20 of
Mugabe's top lieutenants who are under the visa and asset ban, the British
government followed through by deporting to Harare ZANU PF official Joshua
Malinga, deputy head for the disabled and disadvantaged in
the ruling party's supreme politburo, had hoped to fly through London on his
way to New York for a conference.
This week four top officials
of ZANU PF, including Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Edna Madzongwe, were
denied entry visas into Sweden because they are on the EU's list of banned
Three weeks ago reports carried by the
British Press claimed undisclosed assets worth 76 000 pounds belonging to
some ZANU PF officials had been seized by London.
But Harare has
not taken the tightening sanctions lying down. Last week it dragged its main
opponent Tsvangirai before the courts to arraign him on fresh charges of
plotting to overthrow of Mugabe.
Tsvangirai denies the charge as
false and baseless.
The travel and asset ban was imposed on Mugabe
and his officials over allegations that they encourage violence and
lawlessness against political opponents, charges they deny.
sanctions have been tightened in the aftermath of Mugabe's disputed victory
over Tsvangirai in a violence-marred presidential election last
Tsvangirai, the Southern Africa Development Community
Parliamentary Forum, the EU, the US, the Commonwealth and most countries
rejected the ballot as fraudulent.
Tsvangirai, whose MDC party
has emerged as the strongest challenge to Mugabe and ZANU PF's 22-year hold
on power, already has another outstanding charge of treason.
is accused of plotting with a Canadian firm operated by former Israeli spy
Ari Ben Menashe to kill Mugabe.
Stepping pressure on the opposition
party, police last week cancelled about 20 rallies Tsvangirai had scheduled
across the country to drum up support for his party's candidates ahead of
local government elections due in September.
The police argued
that Tsvangirai would use the rallies to advocate violence and mass action
against the government. The MDC chief has denied this.
And in an
about turn, Vice President Joseph Msika said the government would no longer
stop seizing white-owned commercial farms by the end of this month, as had
been announced earlier by Mugabe, under the government's controversial land
Msika said more land would be acquired to
resettle Zimbabweans who he said might have been left out of Harare's current
reforms under which the government has refused to pay compensation for the
land but improvements made on it.Nkiwane said the apparent bravado against
the international community shown by Mugabe and his administration was not
"This defiance cannot be sustained," he
"In fact, the pain from the sanctions and all the measures to
isolate Zimbabwe are still to be felt fully."
Pro-democracy activists are likely to be
targeted in Zimbabwe's response to European Union sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his governing elite, analysts warned
Masipula Sithole, professor of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters the international community should
expect Mugabe to respond harshly, after the EU extended sanctions, including
a travel ban and asset freeze.
"I think he is likely to target
those within his reach first, and his response could badly affect civic
society and the opposition if the international community does not hold him
to account," he said, adding travel restrictions on opposition activists were
one possible response.
The EU, along with the United States,
imposed sanctions after Mugabe was re-elected in March in polls considered
not free and fair, and over the seizure of white-owned commercial farmland
for redistribution to landless blacks.
The EU sanctions
initially targeted 20 leaders from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF Party, but were
extended to 52 others a week ago.
For the moment, ZANU-PF had to
live with the fact that its leaders, who have names that open doors at home,
have doors slammed in their faces in the European Union, Sithole
Mugabe has been forced to decline UN invitations to fly to
Europe and the United States for conferences and Sweden said on Monday it had
denied visas to three female ZANU-PF legislators.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo hinted at retaliation when London airport
officials last weekend prevented Joshua Malinga - the wheelchair-bound
Deputy-Secretary for the Disabled in ZANU-PF - from entering the
Moyo said perhaps the time had come for Harare to compile
its own list of Britons who were not welcome in Zimbabwe.
Moyo did not mention was that a "counter-sanctions list" has been quietly and
informally debated in official circles since March,
"The issue of some kind of retaliation has been
exercising the minds of quite a number of people in the government, because
in international relations there is always the question of reciprocity," one
source told Reuters.
"We are the victims of racism and racist
politics and we have no wish to turn our cheeks for a beating. I think it's
only fair that we hit back, but in our case, the response must necessarily
encompass some of those Zimbabweans who are supporting the EU, US or any
The government could seize passports of those
championing sanctions against ZANU-PF members or make it an offence,
punishable by imprisonment, to support external sanctions against fellow
citizens, the official added.
Opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) secretary-general Welshman Ncube said while "counter-sanctions"
against government critics were possible, they would be illegal.
"It's not something you can rule out here...but we would challenge that for
interfering with freedom of expression and freedom of association," he
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain in
1980, says he won the March 9-11 election fairly and accuses the West of
trying to impose MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as leader of the southern
Mugabe, a 78-year-old former guerrilla leader, has
vowed to defend his government against Western "bullies" and says economic
recovery hinges on his controversial land reforms.
economy is in its fourth year of recession and the country is suffering
severe food shortages. Aid agencies say six million Zimbabweans, about half
the population, need food aid because of drought and the disruption to
farming caused by Mugabe's land seizures. -Reuter
'Mugabe may target opposition activists'
July 31 2002 at
Harare - Pro-democracy activists are likely to be
targeted in Zimbabwe's response to Europetan Union sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and his governing elite, analysts
Masipula Sithole, professor of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe, said the international community should expect Mugabe
to respond harshly, after the EU extended sanctions which include a travel
ban and asset freeze.
"He is likely to target those within his reach
first, and his response could badly affect civil society and the opposition
if the international community does not hold him to account," he said, adding
travel restrictions on opposition activists were one possible
The EU, along with the US, imposed sanctions after Mugabe was
re-elected in March in polls considered not free and fair, and over the
seizure of white-owned commercial farmland for redistribution to landless
'We are the victims of racism and racist politics' The
EU sanctions initially targeted 20 leaders from Mugabe's ruling
party Zanu-PF, but were extended to 52 others a week ago.
had to invoke invitations from the UN to get permission to fly to Europe and
the US for conferences.
Sweden said this week it had denied visas to
three female Zanu-PF legislators.
Zimbabwean Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo hinted at retaliation when London airport officials last
weekend prevented Joshua Malinga - the wheelchair-bound Deputy-Secretary for
the Disabled in Zanu-PF - from passing through the airport in transit to the
Moyo said perhaps the time had come for Harare to compile its own
list of Britons who were not welcome in Zimbabwe.
What Moyo did not
mention was that a "counter-sanctions list" has been quietly and informally
debated in official circles since March, said sources.
"We are the
victims of racism and racist politics. It's only fair that we hit back, but
in our case, the response must necessarily encompass some of those
Zimbabweans who are supporting the EU, US or any other sanctions," said an
The government could seize passports of those championing
sanctions against Zanu-PF members or make it an offence to support sanctions
against fellow citizens, the official added.
Opposition Movement for
Democratic Change secretary-general Welshman Ncube said while
"counter-sanctions" against government critics were possible, they would be
"It's not something you can rule out here - but we would
challenge that for interfering with freedom of expression and freedom of
association," he said. - Reuters
Professor Anthony Hawkins 8/1/02 9:35:28 AM (GMT +2)
days after devaluation was pronounced "dead" by President Robert Mugabe, his
finance minister devalued the official exchange rate for customs purposes by
some 81 percent and the previously-devalued tobacco rate by a further 38
The cumulative tobacco rate devaluation this year is now
almost 65 percent.
Given the increasingly complex system of
multiple exchange rates, with at least six different rates, calculating an
effective rate is virtually impossible - more so since the precise numbers
needed are not available.
But using estimated trade flows based on
2001 statistics, the "blend" rate works out at around Z$320 to one US
In other words, the Z$55 official exchange rate is no more
than a fig leaf, used by ZANU PF purists to insist that there has been no
If devaluation were indeed "dead", so also would be
what remains of the export sector, and along with it, Finance Minister Simba
Makoni's forecast of an unchanged budget deficit for 2002.
is certainly dead is any shred of credibility in the government's economic
Policy incoherence has never been greater. Indeed, since
the chief architect of this economic incoherence, the "internationally
respected" Makoni embraced his easy money policy in January 2001, the pace of
economic decline has accelerated alarmingly.
GDP (gross domestic product) will fall 11 percent
b.. Millions of people are hungry and face
starvation unless rescued by Western donors;
doubled from 58 percent in the first half of 2001 to 116 percent in the
comparable period this year;
d.. The parallel market exchange
rate collapsed from around Z$75 to the US dollar to Z$675 some 18 months
e.. By April 2002, money supply was growing at an
annualised rate of 114 percent;
f.. Real savings with
financial institutions have fallen 44 percent in the last four years and 15
percent in the 15 months to March 2002;
g.. Net investment is
negative - in other words, the country's capital stock, and thereby its
productive capacity, is declining;
h.. So too is the stock of
human capital, partly due to emigration, but also because Zimbabwe has the
world's second highest rate of adult HIV-AIDS infection;
i.. Industrial share prices on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange have risen 400
percent in the last 18 months, doubling since mid-April though in real terms
they are little changed from their levels of six years ago;
j.. Property prices have doubled if not trebled, with
even greater increases in some cases.
Just how this
catalogue of economic disaster merits "international respect" is beyond
comprehension, especially since it is obvious that Makoni 's ill-conceived
flirtation with voodoo economics can only end in tears.
tells more than a thousand words. It shows that, on official projections, GDP
will have fallen 23 percent between 1998 and the end of 2002.
Over the same period, prices will have risen twelve-fold.
too that in 2002, output will be no higher than in 1990, during which time
the population will have increased by more than a third and prices almost
This dismal combination of collapsing supply and
escalating prices will not be resolved by quack remedies of interest rate
cuts, pegged exchange rates and "agrarian reform".
for the rest of 2002 is one of accelerating decline, sharper inflation, a
severe food crisis and a weakening external payments situation leading to
more exchange rate depreciation.
Indeed, all the pieces of a
classic financial crisis are in place:
b.. Plunging real
c.. An asset price bubble - in real estate, in the
equity market, in the goods market (especially top-of-the-range
d.. An overvalued currency - in the official
e.. A creaking banking system where one bank loan
in four is classified as doubtful or bad.
between events in the real economy, where output is now falling at
historically record rates, and the money economy can only mean a financial
crunch at some future point.
The elastic linking the "two
economies" is being stretched to breaking point. Once it snaps, as it must,
and the asset price bubble - the stock market, real estate, vehicle prices -
bursts, the economy will "reprice".
When this happened in the
United Kingdom at the end of the 1980s, it took five years for the economy to
In Japan's case, it has taken more than a decade to
recover from the asset price bubble of the 1980s, while stock markets across
the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are
currently repricing in the wake of the artificial new economy stock market
boom of the late 1990s.
Just why Zimbabwean investors - or more
accurately speculators - should expect to escape this market logic is
Invariably, if not inevitably, inflationary or
speculative excesses are followed by a hard landing. In Zimbabwe's case, it
will be a crash landing.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to
predict what will precipitate the crisis - with the list of potential
"triggers" including the food crisis, pressure from Pretoria, or the
Makoni-Tsumba self-inflicted credit crunch in the financial
Food and politics have been much debated elsewhere, but
remarkably little attention is paid to the perilous state of the financial
sector and its divergence from the real economy.
feature of the worsening crisis has been the changing nature of monetary
expansion. The graph shows that it was public sector borrowing that drove
monetary expansion during 2001, but since September last year, the growth
rate of private sector borrowing has nearly trebled from 44 percent to 127
There would seem to be a host of explanations for this,
ranging from bank financing of rampant speculation in property, equities,
forex and vehicles to inventory accumulation, capital flight, the need to
increase working capital in line with escalating prices, some financing of
output expansion and some distress borrowing.
As a result of
this credit explosion, bank reserves (actual and excess) have collapsed from
almost $37 billion in mid-February to just over $8 billion at the end of
That this should have been accompanied by a sharp fall in
money market interest rates illustrates just how far detached from reality
the Zimbabwe markets have become.
It gets worse. The authorities
are keen to cut interest rates further. In the world of voodo economics, even
negative real interest rates of 80 percent and more are too much of a burden
for the government to service its rapidly escalating domestic debt or for
ZANU PF banks, businessmen and farmers to finance the forecast agrarian
All very well, but where will the money come from if
the bank reserves run out?
Clearly the authorities cannot - will
not - allow a credit crunch. To avert it, they will pump more cash into the
system in the form of government borrowing and spending, which in turn will
fuel more monetary expansion, more inflation, more pressure on the exchange
rate and more misery for the poor, the sick and the elderly.
Those driving equity prices up on the ZSE are clearly taking a punt on a
scenario of this kind, believing either that they are astute enough, or will
be quick enough to get out before the bubble bursts, or that Simba Makoni and
Leonard Tsumba are on the brink of becoming joint Nobel prizewinners for
a.. Anthony Hawkins is an economics and
business studies professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
By Sydney Masamvu
Political Editor 8/1/02 9:15:06 AM (GMT +2)
Robert Mugabe's government, stung by international sanctions against its
members, will take harsh retaliatory measures against the pro-democracy
nations and possibly withdraw passports of leaders of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo said the government is actively working on a
comprehensive response to sanctions which have been imposed by the West on
ruling ZANU PF officials for their alleged support for lawlessness in the
"We are actively considering a range of measures to take,
which will include the withdrawal of passports and the introduction of exit
and entry visas against our political opponents in the country who have
campaigned for sanctions and we are practically working towards that end," he
told the Financial Gazette.
He said the passports of MDC leaders
could be withdrawn, noting that a passport was only a privilege which could
be taken away at any time.
The United States, the 15-nation
European Union (EU), Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland have banned Mugabe
and most of his top officials from travelling to their territories and
imposed a freeze on their overseas assets.
The EU last week
widened the sanctions by adding 52 more names to the initial list of 20
banned Zimbabweans while Britain sent home ZANU PF's deputy secretary for the
disabled Joshua Malinga, who had tried to fly from London to New York for a
Sweden last week also banned four senior ZANU PF
legislators, including Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Edna Madzongwe, from
travelling to the European country for a legislative meeting.
Sweden told them that it was sending a clear message that "(ruling party)
politics currently prevailing in Zimbabwe is bad and that if you are part of
the politics you are set to be affected".
Nkomo said in an
interview: "In implementing these measures, we will take into cognisance the
international law of reciprocity as well and we are busy exercising our minds
in this regard."
He said the planned measures will target people
within Zimbabwe who have campaigned for sanctions to be slapped on the
country's political leadership and said the specific measures to be taken
will be announced shortly.
The crackdown is likely to see
critics of the government in the country being denied the right to move
freely outside Zimbabwe through the seizure of their passports.
The government accuses the MDC of leading the crusade for the imposition of
sanctions on Zimbabwe, shunned by the rest of the world because of violence
which marred the 2000 parliamentary elections and the disputed 2002
Nkomo said it was crucial for the government
to "deal with internal saboteurs" before it could even start responding to
measures against foreign nations which are taking a tough line against
He branded the EU sanctions as ineffectual and a vindictive
act driven by racism to punish the government for its determination to
seize white-owned farms to resettle blacks, a charge the EU has long rejected
The sanctions on Zimbabwe's leadership have had a
knock-on effect on Zimbabwe's tottering economy because the country has been
excluded from virtually all initiatives of the international community meant
to ameriolate Africa's under-development.
Monetary Fund, the World Bank and most Western nations have also cut off all
aid to Zimbabwe, accusing the besieged government of flouting its own laws
and waging terror against its MDC foes and the independent
Zimbabwe is in the midst of its worst hunger crisis, blamed
on the government's violent seizure of private commercial farms, and needs
more than 500 000 tonnes of imported food aid to feed more than six
million people - half its population.
Ironically, most of the
food aid is being donated by the US and the EU, which have refused to accept
Mugabe's March 2002 re-election and want a fresh ballot supervised by the
BULAWAYO - Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has
snubbed a request from ruling ZANU PF party councillors in Bulawayo to
overturn the appointment of Peter Sibanda as the city's chief engineer, it
was established yesterday.
Chombo, through the Local Government
Board, approved Sibanda's appointment last week despite strong petitions to
him from the councillors to turn down the appointment and instead re-appoint
former engineer George Mlilo.
Moffat Ndlovu, the Bulawayo town
clerk, confirmed the appointment of Sibanda as the new chief engineer in a
statement issued to this newspaper yesterday.
Ndlovu said the
appointment was with effect from today.
Mike Parira-Mpofu, the ZANU
PF councillor for Sizinda, has led a vicious campaign against Sibanda's
appointment, arguing that Mlilo should be re-appointed to his old
Mlilo resigned from the post last year to contest the mayoral
election on a ZANU PF ticket but lost dismally to Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube of
the opposition MDC.
When the council advertised for the post of
chief engineer, Mlilo re-applied but was beaten together with two other
hopefuls by Sibanda.
Coventry hopes the swimming gold medal she won for Zimbabwe at
the Commonwealth Games will lift people's spirits in a country
becoming increasingly engulfed in political and economic
Zimbabwe has had visa and assets sanctions imposed on it by the
European Union and was suspended from the Commonwealth group of 54 countries
after controversial elections last March, when president Mugabe was
reinstated, led to political unrest.
The situation follows two years
of turmoil when self-styled war veterans invaded white-owned farms to back
government distribution of land to landless blacks.
Zimbabwe's first medal of the Manchester Games and a first-ever gold in
swimming for her country when she surprised everybody by beating Australian
Jennifer Reilly and Canadian Marianne Limpert into the silver and bronze
medal positions in the 200 metres individual medley on Tuesday.
She set a
Games record with her time of two minutes 14.53 seconds and is keen that her
success should bring cheer to her compatriots at home.
important for the country," Coventry told reporters after winning the gold
"Hopefully it'll give everyone back home something to smile about
and lift everyone's spirits up, which is what is needed."
18, has spent the last year in Alabama in the United States, preparing for
the Games, which brings together 72 nations and territories from mostly
former British colonies.
Her parents, who own a small
chemical company, and sister Lauren still live in the Zimbabwe capital of
She added: "Everyone will be very pleased and happy, which is a
positive thing. Although I was far away I always had a close eye on what was
going on at home.
"I was watching what was going on. I wasn't there
psychologically but I knew what they were going through and it was a little
"People are now trying to pull together at this difficult time,
which is good for Zimbabwe," she said.
Zimbabwe's participation in
this year's Games, where it has 21 competitors, has irked some lobby groups
but organisers say the country's participation should not be an
Pakistan, also suspended from the Commonwealth body, has 55
participants in Manchester.
British sports minister Richard Caborn
said at the start of the event that the ordinary people of Zimbabwe should
not be made to suffer for political issues and Canada's Paul De Villers said
athletes should not be punished for their government's
Zimbabwe's chef de mission Antony Mandiwaza said the team's
mission was to participate in the Games and not to address political
A spokesman for the team told the Reuters news agency on
Wednesday: "For us it is nice. To get a gold medal is a good thing and as a
team we are happy and also for the record that she got."
African country, which has a population of 11.4 million, gained independence
from Britain in 1980, before which it was known as
It made its Commonwealth debut as Zimbabwe in
Brisbane in 1982 and has won 16 medals - four golds, five silvers and seven
bronzes. At the last Games in Kuala Lumpur, Zimbabwe won three gold medals,
including their only other aquatics title, when Evan Stewart won the
one-metre springboard diving event.
International crime syndicates target Zimbabweans with
8/1/02 8:04:13 AM (GMT +2)
From our Correspondent in Bulawayo
Some Zimbabweans with e-mail
addresses are being targeted by international crime syndicates who send them
messages claiming to have billions of dollars which they want to deposit in
the local accounts.
The objective, it would appear, is to obtain
the account numbers of those who take the bait, especially those with credit
cards, and skim off their accounts.
Several victims of the scam,
the majority of them Yahoo subscribers, have approached The Daily News over
the past few weeks.
Some messages are from people claiming to be
from Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
reporter received a message from someone claiming to be a relative of Sani
Abacha, the late Nigerian military dictator.
The man claimed to be
Faruq, Abacha's son. He said they needed US$12 000 to "airlift" more than
US$20 billion to Zimbabwe to the reporter.
Another e-mail user, who
asked not to be named for professional reasons, received an e-mail from
someone claiming to be Captain Aliace Amadi from the DRC. The message claimed
that Amadi was the chief security officer of the late Laurent Kabila. He said
he was now resident in South Africa where he was supposed to source arms for
Kabila's elite corps.
Amadi claimed that he/she had over US$12
million siphoned from the late Kabila's defence fund.
is to transfer and invest in your country. With this development, I will be
pleased to welcome you in South Africa to enable me to open a non-resident
account on your behalf for onward transfer to your overseas account," reads
The recipient of the message was promised 30 percent
of the US$12 million.
Another e-mail user got a message from
someone calling himself Danel Kabila, a cousin of President Joseph
The e-mail said: "President Laurent Kabila was using myself
through diplomatic means to send money out of the country with the fear that
he may be overthrown ... This we have done on two occasions, on the third I
decided to divert this delivery, which amounted to
"Kabila" claimed to have obtained the details and
e-mail address of the recipient from the South African Chamber of Commerce
By Guthrie Munyuki in Harare and Chris
Gande in Bulawayo
MOST Zimbabweans interviewed yesterday said they
were appalled by the government's decision to splash out $65 million on the
Miss Malaika beauty pageant when six million people are facing starvation
because of a nationwide food shortage.
follow news of the government's failed bid to divert $30 million from the
National Aids Council (NAC) to the Miss Malaika beauty pageant, whose finals
will be held I spend $65 million on the Miss Malaika contest when the nation
is facing so many humanitarian crises, smacked of arrogance and
Sydney Chishaka, 32, who works for a Harare cosmetic
company said that no benefits would accrue to Zimbabweans from such lavish
spending on the beauty extravaganza.
He said: "It is pointless
to put that kind of money into a beauty pageant when people are dying of
hunger. There is starvation in this country and that $65 million would have
gone a long way in showing the government's commitment to helping its
Chishaka said no tourists would attend the Miss Malaika
contest when people were starving. He said they would not want to be part of
the excessive expenditure in Victoria Falls.
Ncube, the acting MDC spokesperson, said the government's action showed the
extent of its desperation.
Ncube said: "This is immoral, decadent
and can only done by a regime that has no sense of what is right or wrong.
All it does is to feed on corruption."
Charity Mlambo of Tynwald
slammed the pageant. She said it would consume funds that could be put to
She said the government had far more pressing issues to
attend to than being involved in a glamour parade.
should go to starving people or better still, towards the purchase of drugs
and books," Mlambo said. Bulawayo will host the national finals of Miss
Malaika on 25 August and three representatives will be selected to represent
Zimbabwe in the Victoria Falls international finals.
Zwidekalanga Khumalo, a cultural leader and a descendent of King Lobengula,
criticised the liberal funding of the show at a time when people were going
He said the money being squandered on the beauty contest
should instead be channelled towards the acquisition of relief
Khumalo said: "We may value the beauty contest but at a time
when there is serious hunger, it is inappropriate. That money should be used
to buy food and then the show can perhaps be held later on."
called for the postponement of the extravaganza until the economic situation
improved. Charles Mpofu, a Bulawayo City Councillor, said the Miss Malaika
pageant was only going to benefit a few people whereas the money spent should
have rather been used to profit a more people.
"The priorities of
this government are definitely not right," he said. "People are going for
several days without food but here is a government that, instead, spends
millions of dollars on such a luxury."
Alice Ngwenya, who runs a
boutique in the city, said the country's image could not be enhanced by an
event such as Miss Malaika.
She said: "If the objective of the show
is to improve the image of the country, then the colossal cost is not
commensurate with the results."
Welshman Mabhena, the former
Matabeleland North governor, said allocating $65 million to a beauty show at
a time when people were suffering was unfortunate. He said:
"Honestly, it is hard to believe that such a thing is happening in this
country. All that money for a mere beauty show proves how national priorities
have gone wrong."
Charamba outlined the benefits of hosting the
pageant as three-fold: It would raise awareness of health issues across the
country through the reigning queen's involvement in the Aids awareness
campaign and the upkeep of Aids orphans
The live broadcast of
the event would present a rare opportunity for the ministry to send health
messages to an estimated 400 million worldwide viewership; and This is a very
important Pan-African initiative whose aim is to assert African values and
principles by defining beauty from an African perspective.
Zimbabwean Brita Masalethulini won the inaugural Miss Malaika contest last
year. She is yet to take delivery of her Mercedes Benz vehicle and receive
her cash prize
From Michael Dynes in
Johannesburg and Greg Hurst,
BRITAIN will have to
increase its emergency food aid to Zimbabwe to prevent widespread starvation,
even at the risk of propping up the Mugabe regime, the Government admitted
yesterday. Baroness Amos, the minister with responsibility for
Africa, who was in Pretoria, said that Britain had promised £30 million a
year in food and development aid, but that figure would have to rise
Six million people are facing famine in the
former British colony. The higher level of aid would be required for several
years until the damage caused by President Mugabe's seizure of about 3,000
white farms could be repaired, she said.
Lady Amos sought
to silence critics, who will accuse the Government of propping up Zimbabwe's
Government, saying: "We cannot allow women and children to die." Britain had
"a moral responsibility" to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe did not
starve, she said.
Nor could it refuse to increase assistance
to Zimbabwe because of the danger that the ruling Zanu (PF) party would seek
to ensure that food aid was distributed to government supporters, she said.
Accepting that the British Government would face some critical questioning of
its policies, she added: "It is essential that we work together to find a
solution which puts the needs of the people of Zimbabwe
Britain has already donated £45 million to the United
Nations World Food Programme's international appeal for £338 million to avert
famine across southern Africa. Zimbabwe will receive £14 million in emergency
food relief, in addition to the £18 million donated in development
The Commons Public Accounts Select Committee criticised
Britain' s spending on aid yesterday, saying that too little was reaching the
poorest nations. More aid should be sent to poor countries whose governments
were committed to reducing poverty rather than to middle-income states that
could do more to support their poor, it said.
In a report
on the Department for International Development, the committee states that 22
per cent of direct aid went to countries with pockets of deprivation, but
that were not poor. These included Russia, Guatemala, Bolivia, the
Philippines and Sri Lanka. Greater attention should also be given to evidence
of poor governance and its impact on aid, from other aid projects, local
press reports or court proceedings, the committee said.
Agricultural production in Zimbabwe's commercial farming sector is down 60
per cent from two years ago and even if Mr Mugabe's land seizures were
reversed it would take many years for food production to revert to normal,
Lady Amos said. Some 62 per cent of white commercial farms in Zimbabwe have
been served with so-called Section 8 Land Act notices, making it a criminal
offence for their owners to farm the land.
The World Food
Programme estimates that 13 million people in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi,
Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland are threatened by food shortages. The
organisation fears that Western countries have been procrastinating out of a
conviction that the region's food crisis is self-inflicted, Lady Amos
Lady Amos told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee
that she continued to hope for an unexpected and critical development that
would save Zimbabwe, citing the example of Angola. In February the death of
Jonas Savimbi, the rebel leader, in effect ended 40 years of
She added: "As the months go on, if the situation
does not change, I think the neighbouring governments may well have to review
Mugabe has lost moral right to rule, say MPs By George
Jones, Political Editor (Filed: 01/08/2002)
Mugabe has lost the moral right to govern Zimbabwe and has destroyed the
nation, MPs say today.
The Commons foreign affairs select committee
recommends tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe and stricter restrictions on
overseas travel by the country's ruling elite.
It criticises Mr Mugabe
for his land seizure programme and accuses him of "rewarding his cronies with
gifts of expropriated land". The MPs say the president has "deliberately and
systematically flouted the rule of law" and abused the fundamental rights of
In a report published today they say the Government was right
successfully to urge Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth and to
refuse to accept the result of elections there in March.
Britain had a
"particular obligation" to help rebuild the nation, but as the former
colonial power its actions "are viewed with suspicion and mistrust".
MPs urge Tony Blair to continue targeted sanctions against Harare's ruling
elite and to increase aid to the people, working through international
agencies and neighbouring countries. "Since 1980 Robert Mugabe has
deliberately and systematically flouted the rule of law in Zimbabwe," they
"He has lost the moral right to govern his people. By abusing
their fundamental rights and freedoms he has earned their contempt. One man
can exalt a nation as Nelson Mandela did South Africa; one man can destroy
a nation, as Mugabe has Zimbabwe."
On land reform, the MPs argue for a
programme which favours genuine farmers, internationally funded and
monitored. "We condemn Robert Mugabe for his role in the violent seizure of
farms and for rewarding his cronies with gifts of expropriated land," they
The report says it is "vitally important" that Britain "continues to
provide and increase aid to the people of Zimbabwe both bilaterally and
through reputable international agencies, though not through the government
Other recommendations include increasing support for the
BBC World Service in Zimbabwe and for other independent journalists and
pressing for countries outside the European Union to impose similar sanctions
to those of Europe.
The report also calls on the Government to clarify
how the EU travel ban applies to those travelling to international
militias lift bar to aid From Jan Raath in
MILITIAMEN controlled by President Mugabe have
lifted a two-month blockade on food earmarked for children in one of
Zimbabwe's poorest districts, but distribution has resumed on restricted
terms. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe
was forced to surrender control of its relief programme for 30,000 children
in Zimbabwe's remote Binga district to three local Catholic missions,
Father Tom McQuinnel, the head of the Binga parish, said.
The militia had accused the commission of supporting the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and demanded an overhaul of its
"In order to get food moving and help the
children out, we had to agree to these demands," Father McQuinnel said.
Distribution was allowed to resume last week.
On May 25,
about 30 war veterans had sealed off the gates of a warehouse in Binga where
115 tonnes of fortified maize porridge was stored. Police refused to
The Batonka people of Binga are dependent on food aid.
In the 2000 elections, they responded to two decades of neglect by Mr
Mugabe's party by voting for the MDC.
PRETORIA, Aug. 1 (Xinhuanet)
-- The newly-born African Union (AU) would not act against Zimbabwe despite
the fact that its presidential poll was disputed, the South African foreign
ministersaid here Thursday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma said that the South African government held that the
presidential election in Zimbabwe in March was constitutional and was
accepted by the people of that country.
"The election did take
place in accordance with the Constitution and the result was accepted by the
people of Zimbabwe," said Zuma at a press conference held in the headquarters
building of the Government Communication and Information System.
Dlamini-Zuma rejected suggestions that the newly-launched AU should act
against Zimbabwe because its presidential poll was disputed.
Major international bodies have also questioned the validity
ofthe election, labeling the process "deeply flawed".
However, Dlamini-Zuma argued, Zimbabweans in general had accepted the
election result. Challenging the outcome of an election in court was
an accepted procedure in any democracy.
The opposition party
could go to the court if it challenged theresult of the election, she
She noted that the stance taken by the South African
governmentand the African Union in regard with the membership of Zimbabwe and
Madagascar is not double-standard at all. That was a
During the March election, Mugabe obtained about
54 percent of the vote and defeated former labor leader Morgan Tswangirai,
who presented the first real electoral challenge to the president since he
led Zimbabwe to independence 22 years ago.
the political dialogue, she said, food shortagesin Zimbabwe are complicating
efforts to get internal political dialogue off the ground.
"Before we concentrate on the dialogue, we have to make sure that the
people who dialogue have some food," she said.
South Africa and
Nigeria have been seeking to facilitate talks between the Zimbabwean
government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) since that
country's controversial presidential election in March.
leader Morgan Tsvangirai has challenged the outcome of the poll in court,
causing the ruling ZANU-PF to call off the dialoguein May.
the political standoff continues, Zimbabwe is suffering fromshortages of
basic commodities including cooking oil, sugar, salt and the country's staple
An estimated 7.8-million Zimbabweans, including
5.4-million children, are faced with hunger.
minister said the food crisis in Zimbabwe was now apriority. She commended
the United States and the United Kingdom for their relief
"The Zimbabweans must learn to live together,
whatever political party they come from. It is the responsibility of all
ofthem to make Zimbabwe work," she urged at the press
"The mere challenge (by the MDC) does not nullify
the result," Dlamini-Zuma said.
The AU was, therefore, not
applying double standards by barringMadagascar from the body while Zimbabwe
was left untouched.
The Organization of African Unity (OAU),
predecessor of the AU,last month announced that Madagascar was barred from
taking up itsseat in the AU that was launched on July 9.
resolved that the Indian Ocean island state's election on December 16 last
year that pitted Marc Ravalomanana against incumbent leader Didier Ratsiraka
was not legally constituted.
Ravalomanana was later found to
have won the poll in a recount prompted by a court order.
Ratsiraka has since then fled the island. Germany, the United States, and
France, the island country's former colonial power, last week began
normalizing relations with Ravalomanana's government.
leaders, nevertheless, resolved to stick to Madagascar's exclusion.